Saturday, July 19, 2008

Knitting By the Seat of My Pants

I have now been knitting for six months, a half a year, I'm getting to be an old hand at this (ha!) At least I'm not afraid to frog any more.

I have a friend who's having a baby in November. I'm reluctant to start back on the mostly finished baby booties. Probably because I don't like knitting with the yarn, but also because they have me slightly... frustrated. I saw a picture of a cute little baby kimono knit by my e-friend, Iron Needles. I was inspired to decide that what my friend really needs is a kimono for her baby.

Iron Needles' blog gave the name of the kimono, "Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono", that it was knit in Sugar n' Cream and that the pattern was in a book called "Mason-Dixon Knitting." I looked the book up on the library web site. Not only did they have it, it was available on the 4th floor of the main branch. So I hustled myself out, bought four skeins of Buttercream variegated Sugar n' Cream cotton yarn (machine wash and dry, just what you need for a baby) and headed to the library.

Couldn't find the book. Went to the service desk. The guy said, "It shows as being in," and went with me to the shelves to show me where it was. He couldn't find it either. That's kind of a mixed blessing; yeah, I would really have like for him to find the book, but when he couldn't, it showed I was no blind dummy. Still, I'd rather have had the book than my dignity/vanity. He put it on a special seek and reserve hold for me, but I was hot to trot and decided I could wing it.

The next half hour was spent by looking through all of the baby knitting books that were on the shelf trying to find a "close enough" pattern. Didn't find anything in the right gauge, so I took out the two that came the closest in appearance and studied them.

It was at that point I decided that I should approach knitting like I approach cooking. If I want to cook something I have never tried before, I research it. I read any recipes in my cookbook library. I go on line -- and I are on first name basis. Then, when I've got the idea, I take what I like
best from the recipes I've read and go ahead and make it.

Usually this works well, sometimes is produces unmitigable disasters, but usually it works.

To get a better idea of just how the one piece baby jacket pattern worked and how to do the fastenings, I made a bitty paper model of the kimono. Sloppy, but kinda cute.

Then I knit a nice big swatch which I officially christened the "Baby Washcloth" after I'd bound it off. That way it's not a waste of yarn. I looked around on line for measurements on baby sweaters.
I did the math and started knitting.

Fortunately, not long after I'd started on the sleeves, I noticed a very creative group of stitches several rows back. So creative, in fact, that I had now earthly idea what I'd done or how the area had come into being. When I took the kimono off the needles to rip back, I realized I had been knitting it for Baby GorillaArms. Oops!

So I ripped all be way back to the row before the arms started and made the new arms a good bit shorter.

I still think I'm going to have to cuff them.


Iron Needles said...

Man, you are one brave, creative soul. I am such a pattern follower, and I stand in awe in your amazing-ness. Seriously, after six months of knitting, no less.

Alison said...

When my youngest was born, a neighbor of my husband's aunt--someone I'd never met nor even heard of--knit me a bright yellow baby kimono, during the few short years of my life when I actually had given up knitting before I got back into it. But I knew what had gone into making that. And purely for the sake of welcoming a new soul onto the planet, from a complete stranger!

My baby is 20 now, it's gotten a little small on him, and I am treasuring it and waiting the day he can put it on his firstborn.

--AlisonH at

Kay said...

I love the texture "box" you added.

Cristina said...

Exactly! That's the spirit. I saw the UR Kimono on a baby long before I was old enough to think about having one (baby) of my own; then when I was pregnant with my first son conjured up (working from memory in my own clueless way) the pattern that ended up in Ann's and Kay's book.

The paper model makes a good card for a shower, I think!

Wunx~ said...

Thank you for your kind comments Ladies, they are appreciated.